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Old 20 January 2016, 04:44 PM
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Default Question about Black Actors in Movies and this year's Oscars

Re: Jada Pinkett Smith and others who may be boycotting the Oscars for lack of diversity in the nominations, can someone tell me what movies, and/or roles, they feel should have been nominated, but weren't?

This is a serious question. I saw very few movies this year due to finances and the only one that really comes to mind is the one Will Smith starred in, Concussion. Whether it was Oscar-worthy, I cannot say as I didn't see it; I only know it was a drama and he is Jada's husband so I can see why she's sticking up for him.

I really want to be knowledgeable about the boycott, which is why I'm asking. Thanks in advance.
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Old 20 January 2016, 04:52 PM
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It's not necessarily about the movies that were nominated, but about the pool of movies from which Oscar nominees are selected. If Hollywood doesn't make movies with black actors in significant roles, then black actors won't get nominated for Oscars.
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Old 20 January 2016, 04:55 PM
Dr. Dave Dr. Dave is offline
 
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I know little or less than you about movies and don't really even recognize the nominees for best picture, but one I have heard is the Rocky follow-up called Creed. Rocky is mentoring Apollo Creed's son, and Stallone was nominated. Some people feel the actor who plays Creed's son should have been nominated as well (or instead?).

Similarly perplexed from our ignorance of the movies, my wife looked online this weekend and found this list. Not all are African American and I make no representations about the quality of any of the roles:
Nine performers of color

I also have heard that in addition to or instead of bias in nominations, there is a problem of a dearth of serious roles for African American actors this year. In a nutshell: If there are not any African American actors "qualified" to be nominated this year, then that in itself is a problem of roles and casting.

I am also interested in learning more about this issue, so thanks for starting the thread.
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Old 20 January 2016, 05:10 PM
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I think you'll find that there is a different list for every person you ask.

So let's go to the experts. Variety says that the following black actors and movies were snubbed:

Creed was written and directed by a black man. The lead actor, Michael B Jordan was very well reviewed, but only Sylvester Stallone got a nomination.
Straight Out of Compton's only nomination was for writing (the writers are all white)
Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation
Will Smith, Concussion
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  #5  
Old 20 January 2016, 05:44 PM
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Thanks for the responses; it is a distressingly short list.
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Old 21 January 2016, 06:23 PM
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This is a joke to me regardless of how many movies there were that had black actors. Why is she not concerned about how other races are not included in roles much less nominations. Where are the Asian, Latinos and other minority races? If they are ever if movies they are primarily playing a stereotype.
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  #7  
Old 21 January 2016, 06:28 PM
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Do you have evidence that she only cares about black actors and not about any other people of color?
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  #8  
Old 21 January 2016, 06:30 PM
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Because it is impossible to be concerned about every single possible thing in the world that is concern-worthy?

And even if she isn't concerned because she is prejudiced against other minority races (which I don't believe is true), that doesn't mean that the lack of nominations and roless for black people in the movies isn't an issue.
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  #9  
Old 24 January 2016, 08:54 PM
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It's a systemic problem in Hollywood, not just the Oscars. It's less out-and-out racism as a feeling that a certain type of actor is good for "prestige" roles, and more often, the names who fit that are white (unless the role is making a point about racism).

A second issue is that there are fewer "prestige" films -- serious dramas -- each year. The audience for movies is young (and skewed white and male) and has little interest in anything other than action-adventure. They will see a film over and over during its first run, which leads to big box office and more films of that nature.

There were certainly some black actors in prestige films, but they were generally films that got little attention, or dealt with subjects that the academy didn't care about it. Creed got a nomination for Stallone, not because of they quality of his performance, but because the Academy often uses the category to reward actors who'd been in movies for years but who never won an Oscar (Christopher Plummer, Alan Arkin, George Clooney, Morgan Freeman, Tim Robbins, Chris Cooper, Jim Broadbent, Michale Caine, James Coburn, Robin Williams, Martin Landau, Tommy Lee Jones, Jack Palance, Joe Pesci, etc.). Its nomination was because of this (and did not compete with Best Actor).

Until Hollywood is willing to cast Black actors in colorblind roles, the problem will continue.
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  #10  
Old 29 January 2016, 10:58 PM
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Quote:
'Lost in Space' Star, Bill Mumy: Dismissed as Oscar Voter, With New Diversity Rules - See more at: http://www.goodhollywood.com/details....sw4Qwv8D.dpuf
Talk about missing the point. I mean it sucks that he lost his voting status, but the guy hasn't made a theatrical film in 21 years.

Quote:
However, Mumy disagrees that racism plays any role in the selection of the nominees, writing: 'The nomination process is not racist. Surely you realize that members of the Academy don't get together in clandestine meetings to discuss who they're going to nominate or not nominate.'
I haven't heard anybody make the argument that Academy members are getting together in an organized way to exclude African Americans. More that it's institutional prejudges within the industry. On Larry Wilmore's show he and his guests were theorizing that dispite the buzz about "Straight Outta Compton" probably lots of these older white folks didn't even bother to see it for consideration.
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  #11  
Old 29 January 2016, 11:46 PM
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That's one of those things: when you've got a selection committee that's made up of individuals who are all pretty similar to each other, you don't need any sort of organized racism because you've already done a pretty good job of stacking the deck to favor a specific type of movie already.
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  #12  
Old 30 January 2016, 12:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
And even if she isn't concerned because she is prejudiced against other minority races (which I don't believe is true), that doesn't mean that the lack of nominations and roless for black people in the movies isn't an issue.
I'll admit I having been following this issue closely, but what I have heard she was trying to raise the issue regarding all minorities.
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  #13  
Old 30 January 2016, 12:36 AM
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Double post sorry. But I thought this was a different point and deserved a separate post.

From the artical fitz posted

Quote:
According to a study by the LA Times, Oscar voters are nearly 94% Caucasian and 77% male. Blacks are about 2% of the academy, and Latinos are less than 2%. The study also revealed that Oscar voters have a median age of 62, the study also revealed that people younger than 50 constitute just 14% of the membership
Quote:
I was shocked that neither Michael Caine or Harvey Keitel received a nomination for their excellent work in "Youth", but I certainly don't consider it a deliberate slight because they're senior citizen caucasians.
It's ageism pure and simple
No it's not ageism "pure and simple" that every old man didn't get nominated for every role. Not when you make up the majority of the members, or if it is you are doing it to yourself.

Quote:
Mumy is a household name in America, being cast in shows such as Lost in Space, Bewitched, I dream of Jeannie, Babylon 5, Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color, Wagon Train, Perry Mason, and the list goes on.
Household name is pushing it a bit, I have watch many of those show, granted in repeats and consider myself a bit of an entertainment buff but I didn't know his name. I recognised him in the picture from "Lost in Space" but wouldn't have named him from a current picture.
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Old 30 January 2016, 12:50 AM
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The problem is explicit racism has been out for so long that people don't realize implicit racism that's still there. How can it be racist if no single member of the academy is racist? They ask. (As if none were. But that's a different problem.) So while I totally agree with RealityChuck, I would say the bigger problem is not getting people in power to be colorblind (which isn't even possible and I'm not even sure it would be a good idea because, again, ignoring he problem won't make it go away) but being more aware of existing blindness to implicit racism and willing to do something proactive against it.

Unfortunately we have some very loud (ie loudmouthed) voices claiming it's a myth. All I can say is that's as close to being explicitly racist as you can get these days without joining a klan because it implies that the reason blacks aren't getting nominated is that they just aren't as talented, which, frankly is a load of horsespit.

ETA - By the way, I really like Spike Lee's idea of instituting a "Rooney Rule" like the NFL. That kind of practical solution is the kind that would benefit everyone. But, anyway, do something. Don't just pretend there's no problem.

Last edited by ganzfeld; 30 January 2016 at 12:59 AM.
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  #15  
Old 30 January 2016, 01:44 AM
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That's the problem, Ganz. Just like you said, everyone's image of racism is some guy in a KKK-hood screaming the N-word, while burning a cross. So from there, it's easy to go: I have never attended a cross-burning. I have never called a Black person the N-Word. I've heard of that Martin Luther King, Jr. quote about judging people by the content of their character. Therefore, I am not racist.
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Old 30 January 2016, 01:58 AM
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Yep. And this one: "I have lots of friends on facebooks who are black and I love lots of famous black people [but I never actually have talked to them about their experiences or considered their opinions or really thought much at all about them other than how magnanimous I am to have black friends and 'role' models]!"

It's kind of sad because I think during integration there was a much much higher level of awareness that changes would need to be proactive. A generation or two later and people have returned to the old excuses. "Well, they just didn't get nominated because they didn't and that's the way it is. and they should stop complaining..." Denial.
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Old 07 February 2016, 01:01 AM
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I think she's tilting at windmills here. The reality is the Oscars have always been about politics not about which movie or actor was the best. The studios spend a lot of money to promote their movie and as far as actors are concerned the ones who win tend to win based on their entire career, not that particular film. That's how you get Dame Judi Dench winning an Oscar in 1998 for less than 8 minutes of screen time. And then there was the 12 Years A Slave mini scandal where two of the judges admitted they never even saw the movie before they voted for it for best picture. They just thought based on the title it sounded like a movie that should win.

At the end of the day it's box office receipts that count, not whether or not the movie won any awards. A few years back all of the best picture nominees put together didn't earn as much as the top rated movie of the year. I'm trying to remember what the movie was -I think it was one of the Hobbit movies. It wasn't a bad movie it just wasn't one the powers that be deemed grand enough for their award. The critics used it as an example of how out of touch the Oscar judges were. At the time they pointed out that the last time the best picture nominee was a movie that had a huge box office gross was when Titanic won. They're getting better at going back to nominating movies people actually want to see rather than movies a handful of people in Hollywood want you to see but this is why fewer people have even bothered watching the Oscars in recent years. Who wants to watch an awards ceremony for movies you've never seen or heard of?
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Old 15 February 2016, 12:20 AM
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This is something I've been rolling around in my head and maybe I should actually post it, even if it means doing some thread resurrecting, but I find myself wondering if the Oscars have any impact on the moviegoing public at all? I ask because every year at the ceremonies, they blather on about how movies affect people and help change things for the better, but I wonder if anybody outside of Hollywood sees or cares about the nominees.

I know Art can't be judged as a popularity contest, otherwise Dan Brown and Stephenie Meyer would be remembered as the greatest writers of the modern era, but there is something to be said for cultural impact. How many recent nominees can you honestly say you remember and have watched and discussed many times with friends/colleagues? Yeah, lately it seems nobody outside of Hollywood remembers the nominees after the awards have been distributed. That and the Academy seems obsessed with the idea that True Art is Angsty and Depressing as Hell. If a moviegoer walks out of a movie feeling happy and uplifted, rather than thinking, "Y'know, I'd feel less miserable if they had just pounded me with film reels for two hours," it is Shallow and therefore, not True Art.

I know whenever I make those kind of complaints, people say that Art is supposed to reflect Life, but I'm like, "Y'know Life has happy moments before we wind uni our inevitable grave. So can't True Art also depict happy and uplifting stuff as well?"
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Old 15 February 2016, 12:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mouse View Post
This is something I've been rolling around in my head and maybe I should actually post it, even if it means doing some thread resurrecting, but I find myself wondering if the Oscars have any impact on the moviegoing public at all? I ask because every year at the ceremonies, they blather on about how movies affect people and help change things for the better, but I wonder if anybody outside of Hollywood sees or cares about the nominees.
As someone who studied film in college I'd say that the Oscars occupy a weird place in the middle between film snobs and mass audiences. To film snobs they are too mainstream and to the mass audience they are too arty-farty.

Somebody upthread mentioned Titanic as the last time box office and the awards lined up; but good luck trying to find someone who even admits to having liked that film today. Forrest Gump also took home a bunch of awards (and is well liked by the masses) but many film snobs see as just an exercise in Oscar baiting (historical epic, disabled protagonist, sad but uplifting ending.)
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Old 15 February 2016, 01:21 AM
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To Mouse's part, I think the Academy's version of Chekov's gun is: If you introduce a happy character in Act 1, they will need to have a complete emotional breakdown peppered with anger and sadness if they want to garner a nomination.

In any art form the intersection between art and popularity is often small. But, I don't think the academy goes for either artistic qualities or popularity. They're decisions seem to be based on some internal scale or politics.
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